The latest in America’s favorite new blog series!

Last night I had my first Zoom meeting with friends. Most of those buddies check in here on the blog occasionally – Nez, E$, Sir Dave, The Piddler – and we’ve been texting often. But it was still great to see their faces, have a conversation, and make a human connection.

Yesterday the Indianapolis mayor extended our city’s shelter in place order through May 1. Not a surprise, and I continue to be fine with moving these dates back slowly rather than going ahead and saying “OK, everything is shut down until June 1/July1/2023 or whatever.”

What was upsetting was that as a part of his order he decided to shut down golf courses. I had not gone out to play golf, mostly because I don’t feel comfortable leaving the girls home alone right now if S has to go to the hospital, and I don’t want to drive 20–30 minutes to get to a course when you’re not supposed to be out of the house. However, I had hoped if the weather dried up a bit I could run up to the pitch and putt course that is five minutes away next week. As many folks have pointed out, on a golf course you’re in a wide open space and even if you have playing partners you can create plenty of distance between others. Meanwhile on the walking trails you are constantly getting within six feet of others.

I get how this is purely about optics and it is pretty low on the list of things to worry about. I guess I’ll have to continue to be content to hit balls in the basement and practice balls in the front yard once it stops raining.

Speaking of indoor golf, I did order myself a practice putting mat a few weeks back. I got a model recommended by a brother-in-law and have been spending about 30 minutes each day on it. Hopefully it makes a difference if I can ever play “real” golf again.

This morning S got a call from the St P’s gym teacher. He is a great guy and we had heard he was checking in on other families. He spoke with her for several minutes just to make sure we were all doing ok and that the girls were getting outside. He doesn’t know us very well – thus the call to S rather than me – and when he asked how we were doing she mentioned that I was the at-home parent and she was a physician and has been in the hospital a few days. That elicited a whole series of questions on her opinion of where we are at and how long this will last. I’m sure that info will get passed along the line.

In global news, it is hard not to get bogged down in numbers. There are the numbers of infected/dead across countries and states. Models for what may happen and when they think it will happen. Numbers of unemployed, dollars for recovery efforts, etc. Just so many numbers, and numbers that change depending on what source you look at.

A detail about numbers I learned Tuesday that amazed me was how the daily reports we get are skewered. The Indiana state health commissioner noted that when they say X deaths were reported on day Y, that doesn’t mean X people actually died that day. Some may have died days ago but their positive test results just came back. I never thought of that, and it suggests that as testing gets better/faster that could shoot the numbers up even higher as the accounting of bodies catches up.

Then this morning I read an article that dove into the number of dead in Italy and Spain. It looked at the historic numbers of people who died in a specific area over a specific time frame, compared that to how many dead were reported over that span this year, then looked at how many of those deaths were officially related to Covid–19.

In one region in Spain the historic number was 500, the 2020 number was 835, but the Covid number was only 121. That means there were an “extra” 214 deaths. Some of those, the study said, were marked down as having general causes of death like pneumonia that could be Civid-related but did not have a positive test. Others simply weren’t tested.

If you figure this will be the case across the globe, the final, true death toll will be much higher than the numbers we are getting now. Yeesh, more good news.

I think I’ve said this before but each day is a constant blend of fascination and terror. There’s the fascination of this totally unique world event. As a history buff of holder of a political science degree, both the daily developments and their long-term ramifications are completely engrossing.

But there’s always that terror to balance. Most studies continue to show that a huge majority of people who get seriously ill from the coronavirus have underlying health issues. One study I saw showed over 80% of Civid-positive people who required hospitalization had a chronic issue like diabetes, heart disease, etc. And for the sickest people, those who require admission to the ICU, the number was even higher.

Yet everyday you hear stories of people in their 30s, 40s, and 50s who were otherwise healthy and suddenly got sick and deteriorated rapidly. My first thought is wondering how many of these people had some undiagnosed illness that had already chipped away at their immune systems and prevented their bodies from fighting off the virus. But even then, that leaves a section of people who were indeed relatively healthy and succumbed quickly.

That’s the stuff that scares the crap out of me. I’m being careful in my travels outside of the house. When we take a walk or see the neighbors at the mailbox I am careful to keep a distance from others. I wash my hands often. What if there is already some bomb ticking inside of me, though, that I wouldn’t otherwise have discovered for years that has knocked my immune system down just enough that, should I get infected, makes fighting it troublesome?

This is a minor worry compared to that for S, though. She’s having to go into hospitals and medical offices several days a week. She’s seeing patients occasionally. While in most cases she is isolated from people who have tested positive, by being out of the home and in an environment where sick people pass through, her risk factor is much higher.

The odds are very low that either of us will get sick, and then that either of us will get seriously ill. But those odds are still greater than zero, and the more stories you hear about people here in the US dying, the more you think about the worst cases and all the implications that come with that.

Hey, happy Thursday!